Older people doing household chores may have sharper memory, attention, better leg strength, and greater protection against falls, according to new research.
The survey results were published in the open access journal “BMJ Open”.
The findings were independent of other regular recreational activities, physical activity at work, and active commuting.
Regular physical activity is suitable for maintaining optimal physical and mental health. And among the elderly, it reduces the risk of long-term conditions, falls, immobility, dependence and death.
However, according to global monitoring data, physical activity in 2016 was well below the recommended weekly level and barely appeared in 10 years, so people in high-income countries are twice as high as those in low-income countries. It may be a couch potato above.
Since housework involves physical activity and is an indicator of the ability to live independently, researchers say that doing housework contributes to healthy aging and enhances the physical and mental abilities of older people in wealthy countries. I wanted to investigate if I could do it.
They included 489 randomly selected adults between the ages of 21 and 90, had less than 5 underlying illnesses, and had no cognitive problems. All lived independently in one large residential area in Singapore and were able to carry out their daily work.
Participants were divided into two age groups. 21-64 years old (249 years old, average age 44 years old), classified as “young”. And 65-90 years old (240 years old, average age 75 years old), classified as “elderly”.
Walking (walking) speed from a chair and sitting to standing speed (indicating leg strength and risk of falling) were used to assess physical performance. Validated tests were used to assess psychological agility (short-term and delayed memory, visuospatial ability, language and attention span) and physiological factors associated with falls.
Participants were asked about the intensity and frequency of the household chores they performed on a regular basis, and the number of other types of physical activity they performed.
Light household chores included washing, dusting, bed making, laundry drying, ironing, tidying up, and cooking. Heavy household chores were defined as activities such as window cleaning, bed replacement, vacuuming, floor washing, and painting / decoration.
Housework intensity was measured by metabolic equivalent (MET). These are about the same as the amount of energy (calories) consumed per minute of physical activity. Light household chores were assigned a MET of 2.5. Heavy household chores were assigned 4 METs.
Only about one-third (36%; 90) of the younger group and about half (48%; 116) of the older group meet the physical activity quotas recommended from recreational physical activity alone. I did.
However, almost two-thirds (61%, 152 young, 66%, 159 old) achieved this goal with household chores alone.
After adjusting for other types of regular physical activity, the results showed that household chores were associated with sharper mental and better physical abilities. But only among older age groups.
Cognitive scores were 8 percent and 5 percent higher for people doing heavy or heavy household chores, respectively, compared to the small group.
And the intensity of housework was associated with a particular cognitive area. Specifically, heavy household chores had 14% higher attention scores, and light household chores had 12% and 8% higher short and delayed memory scores, respectively.
Similarly, sitting-to-standing time and balance / adjustment scores were 8% and 23% faster in the large group than in the small group, respectively.
On average, younger people were educated for more than five years than older people. And since education levels are positively associated with baseline mental agility and slower cognitive decline, this may explain the observed difference in the effects of household chores between the two age groups, The researchers explained.
They warned that this was an observational study and the cause could not be determined, adding that the study relied on subjective reports of physical activity level and the amount and intensity of household chores.
However, because they point to previous studies showing a link between aerobic exercise and improved cognitive function, sharper psychological agility associated with household chores can occur through similar mechanisms. They suggested.
“These results summarize that higher cognitive, physical and sensorimotor functions associated with heavy household chores may be associated with a reduced risk of physiological falls in community-dwelling older people. I’m suggesting. “
They said, “Incorporating (physical activity) into daily life through household chores (ie, household chores) is higher (physical activity) that is actively associated with functional health, especially among older community-dwelling adults. It may be achieved. ”
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